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I posted this as a reply to a different thread, but figured I'd start this thread to help get more input.

My sister in law is an ISTJ, I am an ENFP. I'd really like to improve our relationship and be able to understand her better, but more often than not, I am at a loss. She and my brother adopted my son a few years ago.
As an example, I'l describe our most recent interaction...for the past few weeks, I made plans with her to visit them the weekend after finishing school. The day I was supposed to leave, I realized I needed to recover from the stress of exams etc, and wished I planned to visit them the following weekend instead, in order to allow myself to recuperate after all that chronic stress. My body felt like it was deteriorating, and I felt like complete crap. However, I decided to go anyways because I've heard ISTJs can be frustrated by my tendency to alter plans at the last minute. How big of a deal is this to ISTJs, for real? If I asked her to reschedule, and if she told me that would be absolutely fine, is it more likely that she means it, or that she is making an effort to be polite?
While visiting, my body totally crashed and I ended up spending nearly the entire next day needing sleep. I was barely physically able to play with my son. When I visit them, my son gets super excited that I am around, and is constantly trying to play with me. He isn't old enough to understand what I mean when I say I am too tired. So, on that day, all I did really is inconvenience her and my brother by getting my son even more excited and hyper than usual, and do nothing but rest all day.
The following day, I felt well enough to take my son to this nearby park he loves for a good few hours. He had a blast. This outing was enough to wear me out again physically, so when we got back to their house, I asked my sister in law if she minds if I take a nap and if she could take care of my son (her adopted son) while I slept for a bit to try to recover.
She was super nice about me needing to rest and told me not to feel bad about it at all, and said she was simply glad I could visit.
While trying to sleep, my sister in law and son were doing some yard work in front of their house. Their super obnoxious dog (dachshund) would not stop barking. It was incessant and jarring, and loud enough to be easily heard outside. She even came in and out a few times, so I am certain my sister in law knew how loud and obnoxious and incessant the dog's barking was. Nobody would be able to relax with that constant yapping. Yet, she did nothing about it, even though I told her I was 'crashing' again, feeling physically very crappy, and that I needed a nap.
Why on earth would she allow her dog to keep barking like that, without trying to do anything what so ever to address her dog's behavior? She had other options for getting the dog to be less disruptive that I've witnessed her do at other times (such as when she is giving piano lessons). She could have put the dog on a leash outside with them, or closed off the dog in the room farthest from where I slept (her bedroom's bathroom), or w/e else. Did this not occur to her? Was this not incredibly rude behavior as a host? Would it have been rude for me to shut her dog in her bathroom or ask her to take her dog outside with her? Personally, I'd realize that barking would be something that would irritate any guest, and I'd make sure my dog isn't borderline deafening any guests I have over.
Because I was already in a considerable amount of pain, and got frustrated with the dogs non-stop shrill barking, I packed up my stuff and decided to leave. I met her on the way out and apologized for leaving a little earlier than intended, and explained that I just wasn't feeling good and wanted to go home. She wasn't concerned about why I suddenly decided to pack up early and leave, didn't ask if there was anything she could do to make me more comfortable, etc. Instead, she was really polite in saying she hopes i feel better and to have a good trip home. And that was it. I left, and I have no idea what to make of this latest interaction.
Please help shed some light on this. Communication isn't her strong suit, so I have no idea what so ever how she perceives this last visit of mine. I've noticed she doesn't always express her concerns with others out of fear of starting conflict. I'd like to continue being able to visit my son (especially when I am not physically so deteriorated!!), but I'd really like to know how much I'm inconveniencing her by my visit. How can I tell if she is being authentic when she tells me things?
 

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Someone changing plans can be annoying if we've set the day aside for it. I feel that your situation is understandable so don't worry too much about her being an ISTJ. Just having a general respect for people and plans will be good, there's no need to treat her extra special.

Yet, she did nothing about it, even though I told her I was 'crashing' again, feeling physically very crappy, and that I needed a nap.
If the dog is bothering you, you'd need to be direct with her. To me it seems as though she doesn't make it a habit to stop her dog from barking, so, I can see how she may not have thought anything of it, even if you were sleeping. Having someone sleeping over like that is probably not a regular occurrence so she probably didn't think about it, besides, she was 'busy' right? Her mind was probably elsewhere.

Was this not incredibly rude behavior as a host?
I'm not sure if she thought about that. She might have just thought she was doing you a favour letting you nap there?? I don't know. I mean it's not really a favour but then again it might be sort of? Because you could have just gone home right?

Would it have been rude for me to shut her dog in her bathroom or ask her to take her dog outside with her?
Yeah. Unless she usually shuts her dog in the bathroom, I don't think it would be good to suggest something like that. And she was doing things already so I'm not sure she'd want to keep eyes on the dog as well as her son?

I met her on the way out and apologized for leaving a little earlier than intended, and explained that I just wasn't feeling good and wanted to go home. She wasn't concerned about why I suddenly decided to pack up early and leave, didn't ask if there was anything she could do to make me more comfortable, etc. Instead, she was really polite in saying she hopes i feel better and to have a good trip home. And that was it.
I don't think you gave her any reason to think there was a bigger reason so that's probably why she replied the way she did. Plus, if someone says they're not feeling well, and are leaving... I don't think many ISTJs would be like... oh... can we get you something? Can we make you feel better? We usually don't... care... about that stuff... :S I don't know... maybe it's just me. But I can't be stuffed with things like that... because I don't expect anyone to do that for me so... but then again, I'm not a good host because I don't host people. :p I mean I know if I didn't feel good, I'd just want to get out of there so maybe that's what she was thinking?

but I'd really like to know how much I'm inconveniencing her by my visit. How can I tell if she is being authentic when she tells me things?
I don't know how much you're inconveniencing her... like how close are you to her? I don't really know what the situation is like so I really can't say. And I don't know if she's being authentic because even though she's an ISTJ, it doesn't mean that she'll handle the situation the same way as other ISTJs. We like to be pretty direct but the situation doesn't always 'allow' for it or suit it so... I'm not sure sorry.
 

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I'll be brief and blunt. ISTJ's are very big on personal responsibility, and we expect the same from others. Perhaps your SIL sees you as irresponsible, undependable, and full of excuses. As an ISTJ myself, I read your post and cringed. If you want to make the trip to visit your son, dammit, do whatever it takes to make the visit worthwhile. No excuses.
 

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I don't like plans being changed or canceled that much. I don't know any ENFP's in person, but I do know INFP people who do this very thing- and it does annoy me. Rescheduling doesn't bother me as much if there is a good excuse, but I dislike this if It's made into a habit.

I would be just as annoyed if someone let their dog bark repeatedly like that, but perhaps she's used to it and didn't notice. You could have asked her why she allows that in a tactful way too, but I don't know her or how she'd react to that.

As far as her not being concerned about you packing up early, what you need to realize is that ISTJ's in general are not super empathetic or people oriented. We can still care about others, but we usually have to be told about your issue in a blunt matter. If you're subtle about it, most ISTJ's are not going to care enough to notice or dig deeper. That's just how our personality works. I feel It's more of an NF trait to want to dig deeper if something is "off". That doesn't mean she's furious with you on the inside, in most cases, we'd take what you say and then let it go.
 

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Someone changing plans on me... especially last minute... just reeks of disrespect towards me. Few things will bother me as much. This would also extend to going off to take a nap in the middle of a visit... no matter how tired or sick I might feel, I just couldn't ever do that. That said, I believe your SiL took that at face value and was being genuine when she said she was glad to have you there at all.

Regarding the barking dog... It's quite likely that this is quite normal for them and they never gave it a second thought. We have six yappy little dogs and it often surprises us when visitors make a big deal of it while we really don't even notice it.

It's quite likely that when you said you were leaving early because you didn't feel well, she took that communication at face value without thinking any more about it. Say what you mean, mean what you say... it's the ISTJ's normal mode of communication and we expect others to follow suit, so we typically don't go looking for hidden meanings (not to mention that, even if our inferior Ne throws out a perception of what it might mean, we simply don't trust the little bastard and do our best to ignore him.)

I don't mean any of this as a personal condemnation of you, but to point out that the same situation can look very different to different people... some of it is type-related and some is not. Everyone has their own unique lens through which they view things, and neither is necessarily right or wrong.
 

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So I'm an INTJ not an ISTJ but I think we're similar enough in this regard that I could add something here. I read and re-read your post and really thought about it, and I'm still not 100% clear on what you wanted from her when you left. Did you want her to figure out why you were upset and offer to fix things, and then you would stay? Or did you want her to figure out why you were upset and just apologize? I'm sure she just took what you said at face value and acted on that. That's sure what I would have done. I can't go around guessing what people are thinking, or figuring out their inner feelings or whatever. If you want me to understand what you're feeling, you need to tell me. Then if there is a problem, I will try to fix it. If I had had an annoying yappy dog (and believe me, I wouldn't) and you told me that you were tired but unable to sleep because of the yapping, I'd take care of that.

So it sounds like she's being authentic when she tells you things, but maybe from her (certainly from my) point of view, you actually aren't being authentic. I mean, you're apparently not saying what you really mean. Right?

Also from my POV it would NOT have been rude to ask her to do something with the dog. I mean, not if you asked her in a nice way. Nor is she being rude by not anticipating your problem and doing something about it.

Summary: if something is bothering you with her, you need to (politely) clearly tell her what it is, and she will most likely address it.
 

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I'll be brief and blunt. ISTJ's are very big on personal responsibility, and we expect the same from others. Perhaps your SIL sees you as irresponsible, undependable, and full of excuses. As an ISTJ myself, I read your post and cringed. If you want to make the trip to visit your son, dammit, do whatever it takes to make the visit worthwhile. No excuses.
That was my thought, as well.

I hate to say this, but SIL might feel some degree of impatience/contempt for the OP as well, for not "getting her shit together" and "taking responsibility" re: life in general, rearing her own child herself, etc. My guess is that SIL views OP as an all-around flake and generally selfish, irresponsible person, period. I'm not saying the OP is, mind you, but I'd bet money that this is SILs private opinion of OP.
 
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